Brilliant beaches, ancient rainforests & super cities in Australia’s sun & fun capital

The Regions

Queensland’s capital and Australia’s third largest city, Brisbane is known for its laid-back ambiance, but it also has plenty of big-city drive. Dive into a world of great cuisine, shopping, first-class museums, galleries, and performing arts centers. Take in the panoramic view from atop Story Bridge, explore the Southbank Parklands, and walk the Heritage Trail.

Cairns / Port Douglas
Most area visits begin in Cairns, a thriving seaport and magnet for travelers that’s just a stone’s throw from the Great Barrier Reef. Get yourself to the Esplanade, an oceanfront promenade with restaurants, bars, and hotels, and a pedestrian/bike path. A lively city with a village feel, Port Douglas is the ideal starting point for a trip to the Great Barrier Reef or Daintree Rainforest.

Gold Coast
With its sweeping beaches, the Gold Coast is Australia’s great playground. Excitement runs 24/7 at Surfers Paradise, where days on the beach give way to nights spent in the bars and clubs. North Gold Coast is home to enough theme parks to rival Orlando and, on South Gold Coast, you’ll find the posh restaurants and lounges on Broadbeach, as well as family-oriented spots like Mermaid Beach.

Top Experiences

Surfin’ Safari
At gorgeous, iconic Surfers Paradise, you can chill out, watch the action on the waves, or learn the sport at one of its numerous surfing schools.

Great Big
Bigger than several European countries combined, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, and a must-visit location for divers.

Into the Woods
Lace up your hiking boots to explore the exotic Daintree Rainforest, home to the largest range of plants and animals on the planet, including 13 bird species found nowhere else

Art Scene
Hop on the Kuranda Scenic Railway from Cairns to the village of Kuranda, and check out the galleries and markets for authentic Aboriginal artwork, music instruments, etc.

Hike through Daintree Rainforest to Mossman Gorge, the oldest continuously surviving rainforest on earth, and home to over 30,000 species of plants and animals.

Kuddly Koalas
Snuggle with one of nature’s cutest creatures at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in suburban Brisbane, the world’s first and largest reserve dedicated to Australian wildlife.

Fraser Down Under
Rent a 4WD vehicle and explore Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, and its freshwater lakes, seawater pools, rocky outcrops, and endless beach.

Low Life
Grab your snorkelling gear for some of the greatest diving on the planet, just off Port Douglas at Low Isles, absolutely the poster child for your “typical island paradise.”

I Can See Four Mile
Stroll just a few minutes from Port Douglas center city, and you’re at Four Mile Beach, which stretches along the Coral Sea in a gentle curve of soft sands and swaying palms.

A Month of Whitsundays
If Whitehaven Beach looks familiar, that’s probably because it’s the most photographed beach in Australia, a stunning swirl of white silica sand and turquoise waters on Whitsunday Island.

Source: Worldwide Traveler, Australia & The South Pacific